Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Happy 6th Birthday, Isabelle Mae!!

I say it every year, but how did we get here?  6 years ago I was sitting at your dad's softball game in labor with no clue that I would soon be meeting you!  6 years ago is when you came into this world and made me a mother--the most amazing and crazy job I have ever had!

Belle, on your 6th birthday I want you to know all of the things I have learned about you over this year.  Not much has changed since last year, but you still continue to teach me new things and amaze me with the person you are becoming.

  1. At the end of DK your teacher described you as a kid who "knew how to be a kid."  I have been so proud of this statement.  To me, this showed that you knew didn't take life more seriously than you needed to, and you took full advantage of this amazing stage of your life
  2. Purple is still your favorite color.  
  3. You, my girl, keep proving to me how much of an athlete you will be.  You thrive on the soccer field, you have perfected the RipStik, and you can run fast!  I cannot wait to watch you flourish in this area.
  4. You have lost two teeth!  AND, you are currently working on a third! As a kid I LOVED writing letters to my tooth fairy, Harry, and it has been so fun to watch your excitement with the tooth fairy and losing your first teeth.
  5. You and Evie are best friends and worst enemies.  You gang up on me together (something I don't anticipate ending soon), you fight passionately, and you love on each other like crazy.  Watching the dynamic of your sisterhood is so intriguing.

  6. You still continue to be my drama girl.  You are getting better, but you can still go from 0 to 60 in no time flat.  
  7. You are the epitome of an older sister.  You are VERY concerned with Evie's safety and I Have to often remind you to worry about yourself, and I'll worry about Evie.  I love your concern for your sister, but if I were Evie I made have clocked you once or twice by now.
  8. You are no longer "not listening."  When I am talking to other adults you have your ears up and you often ask me later what we were talking about.  You are inquisitive, and you on't skip a beat.
  9. This year you gave yourself your first haircut.  First, I screamed, cried, and yelled...but in the end I realized it was just hair, and hair grows back.  You're still beautiful, and short little bangs say nothing about the girl you are :-)
  10. Speaking of hair, you can do your own now!  You brush it yourself, and you often put in your own ponytails and pigtails.  You are needing me less and less when it comes to getting ready.
  11. You just started all day, everyday Kindergarten. It is such an odd transition for me.  I have been so used to having you home most of the time, and now you spend most of your time with someone else.  I know you are ready, but not so sure I have been completely ready.
  12. You are still such an amazing helper to me! You love to do the dishes, keep an eye on Sam, and dust the furniture.  The one chore you struggle with continues to be putting your laundry away.  I feel you, girl.  We are SO alike!
  13. You have QUITE the fashion style!  Since I started LuLaRoe you love to mix prints, and put anything together.  I let you dress yourself, so it isn't rare for you to head to school in stripes, solids, and animal print all in one outfit! I adore your confidence :-)
  14. I am amazed at how one year has matured you.  You used to barely be able to make it through a church service, and not long ago you sat in the pew by yourself while I had Alive, and you never once misbehaved.  You are no longer that impulsive little girl you used to be.
  15. You are still my craft girl.  You LOVE to color, paint, and put things together.  You would rather make crafts than pay dolls or Barbies.
  16. Aside from crafts, you could play Minecraft all day.  I think you enjoy the freedom of building whatever you want, and you are really good at it.  If I'm not careful you would easily play Minecraft for hours on end!
  17. This summer you turned into a fish!  You conquered your fear of swimming underwater, started jumping off the diving board, and really fell in love with the water.  
  18. I love to just talk with you.  You have questions, thoughts, and stories that intrigue me.  I love being able to see the world through your eyes.
  19. You are trying so hard to read.  You love to sit down with books and sound things out.  Sometimes you give up quickly, but other times you keep trying hard.  On one hand it's exciting to watch you learn, and on the other I lament not being able to spell things around you so you won't know what I'm talking about.
  20. You still love music.  You became obsessed with Katy Perry's "Roar."  You know every word and your even have you own little dance to it.
  21. Speaking of dancing, you took your first ballet class this summer.  You loved it, and every part of me was in love with you in a leotard and ballet skirt!  
  22. The older you get, the sassier you get!  It is not rare for you to get mad and stomp around and slam doors.  I have a feeling your teenage years are going to be interesting...
  23. You are becoming more and more independent.  Picking out your clothes, making food for yourself, cleaning up your room, and doing your own hair.  You like to do things for yourself, and you don't often need my help for many things (although we are still working on you tying your shoes).
  24. I have found that new things, or a change in the norm can stress you out a bit.  If we head to the zoo or plan to go to Catch Air you are excited, but I can tell you have a heightened sense of anxiety.  You worry more about what Evie is doing, ask a lot of questions about what will happen, and begin to feel rushed.  Sometimes new situations seem to put your emotions in overdrive, so anything you feel, you feel 10 times more.  
  25. You have lots of friends!  It has been fun to watch you build friendships with your classmates in DK, and I look forward to seeing your relationships grow!  We have entered the world of play dates, pool parties, and birthday parties.
  26. While you are getting better at picking things up, your ability to leave things laying around is still going strong.  You like to move quickly to the next activity, and don't want to take time to pick up your last project.  You are much like your mother this way.  
  27. You thrive on being around people, and you hate to miss something or feel "left out."  You have inherited your FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) from your father for sure!  You hate the thought of things going on without you being there.  
  28. This past year you found your first boyfriend.  You were certain that you were going to marry  Bryce, and your teacher confirmed that you guys played together at school a lot!  I can't even tell you how many pictures you drew of you and Bryce.  Unfortunately, your first "love" moved to a different school this year, but you still talk about him!  No worries, girl, most people don't marry their first loves ;-)
  29. You are THE best at helping me with Sam.  He can be a cranky pants, but you know just how to make him laugh and how to distract him when I need to get something done.  You might only be 6, but I rely on you a lot. 

  30. You have asked Jesus to be in your heart, and I love seeing your faith develop.  You are learning Bible stories, and asking me questions about Jesus.  You still aren't so sure about praying aloud, but that's okay.  Keep talking to God.  Keep exploring your faith!
Happy 6th Birthday, Belle!  How fast it has gone!  Keep smiling, keeping learning about God, and keep loving life!

We love you SO much!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I Heart LuLaRoe

6 months ago I posted this.  I shared with all of you that I was venturing into the world of "LuLaRoe Fashion Consultant."  It has been a crazy whirlwind 6 months, but I wanted to come back to share with you everything that has gone on!

I had never imagined the ride I was about to board when I signed to be a LuLaRoe consultant, but I am SO glad I did.  It has been a lot of work, but the rewards have been far more than I imagined.  I was super nervous to start out.  I wasn't sure if I had the skills, didn't know if I'd get parties, and was worried about the cost to start up.  There was a lot of "what ifs," but in the end I am glad that Paul and I took a leap of faith and went with it!

Let me begin by saying that I AM NOT a business person.  I have a bachelors in Social Work and a masters in Counseling.  Ha!  That might be the COMPLETE opposite of anything business related!  However, I knew I could talk with women, help them shop, and in the end help them find clothing that they would feel phenomenal in.  I am not shy on social media (as MANY of you have probably already experienced), and I just felt like this was something I could do. Quite honestly, in the end I was going to sell a product I LOVED and stood behind 100%.  If I was passionate about LuLaRoe, then I knew I could convey this to others.

I have been floored by the support I have received in this venture!  I was able to pay off my initial investment within 7 weeks of starting, and in the meantime have even earned a cruise for Paul and I in February.  To say I am thrilled with my decision to join LuLaRoe is an understatement!

If you have followed m blog in any capacity over the years you have learned that I love making lists.  So, in good Betsy fashion, here is a list of why I love being a part of LuLaRoe.

  1. Can we say consultant perks?  I get first dibs on EVERY shipment!  I have my packages delivered to the UPS Store down the street.  Without fail, each box is ripped open and clothing is pulled out by the time I get home.  Waiting and receiving a new shipment is just as exciting every single time! Oh, and I get all the LuLaRoe I want at wholesale.
  2. LuLaRoe has been the perfect balance of work/being home for me.  I have always said that I could never be a working mom.  During my internship for my masters I thought I was going to lose my brain just trying to get myself and one kid out of the door!  Kudos to those moms who go off to work everyday!  I am not meant for full time work outside the home!  I have always said that going to work even just one day a week would be the perfect balance.  Step in LuLaRoe.  I am home during the day with my kids.  Sure, there are work things I have to do DURING the day, but I still get to wake up with them, and have the freedom to work my schedule with what works for our family.  
  3. I am reminded that I am more than "Mom."  Don't get me wrong,  Being "Mom" is a BIG responsibility and  honorable title, but somedays being "mom" feels like dirty diapers, mac and cheese, fights over Barbies, and endless laundry.  These jobs are important, but they aren't always the most fulfilling.  For me, LuLaRoe has given me pride in something that I do for my family that goes beyond the monotony of my SAHM life.
  4. Money.  People don't like to talk about money, but it is sort of an inevitable when discussing why I love being a part of LuLaRoe.  To be honest, it takes a good chunk of change to become a consultant.  The upfront cost scared me.  A lot.  However, I have learned that with a big investment comes a big pay off.  In the beginning I invested my profit back into my inventory, but since putting the profit back into my pocket I am shocked and pleasantly surprised.  Our kids attend Legacy Christian School. Tuition isn't getting cheaper.  I can already feel the financial freedom we are starting to experience easing tension in our home.  I feel proud about contributing financially to our household income.  No clue if Paul agrees, but I think it has to relieve some pressure off of him as the sole bread winner.  
  5. Women Power.  So cheesy, I know, but for real.  I am part of a fabulous network of women through LuLaRoe who encourage, support, and help out one another.  The wonderful thing about LuLaRoe is that the competition between consultants is really very minimal.  We all have different inventory.  We have sent customers to each other, and we meet each other to help each other out with inventory.   Our Facebook group is filled with laughs, cries, and women who genuinely care for each other, even though we have never met face to face.  It's freaking awesome.  
  6. The people that run LuLaRoe are the real deal.  Deanne and Mark Stidham are involved, motivated, and genuinely want great things for all of us.  I promise I am not just drinking the Kool-Aid.  I have met this fabulous couple and they make a point to know who you are!  Deanne makes herself available to every consultant and not a single one of us is too "beneath" her for her to invest her time and expertise.  Related, the home office is a group of fabulous people who truly try their best to help out each and every consultant.  The company is new, and with any young company there are growing pains, but they acknowledge where LuLaRoe can grow and how it needs to change.  It's good stuff, peeps.
I am sure I could come up with 100 more reasons I love being a part of LuLaRoe, but these are the most important ones for me.  

And now for the spiel where I offer you the opportunity to be a part of LuLaRoe like I am! :-)  (You knew this was coming).  For real, though, any of you who have had any experience with me know that I am not one to promote something unless I stand behind it.  Similarly, when I find something I love, I share it constantly!  If you have considered being a part of the LuLaRoe Fashion Consultant world, I would be honored to be your coach and biggest cheerleader.   

To learn more about this opportunity you can listen and ask questions on the call every Tuesday and Thursday 4pm PST (7pm Michigan time).  Dial in to 712-432-1500, and use the access number 778569#.  If you still feel like you want to know more you can contact me here: or email me at, or check me out on Facebook.

Then there are those that being a consultant isn't your gig.  No big deal!  I'd love to be your go-to gal for a Pop Up Boutique to help you earn free clothes!  Who doesn't like free clothing???  And, if you live out of Michigan be sure to check my Facebook page for my online events!  I often do live broadcasts through YouNow too! 

Huge thank you to my sponsor, fellow consultants, and customers who have made the past 6 months of this LuLaRoe train a fantastic ride!  Can't wait to see where I will be 6 months from now!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy 1st Birthday, Samuel John!

Dear Sam,

I am not quite sure how this happened, but you are already a year old!  Sometimes it seems like you have been around here forever, and yet sometimes it feels like you were just born!  You have been such a joy to watch grow this past year.

  1. You were born with a phenomenal head of hair, and it has only continued to be amazing. You went through one phase, however, where it stayed long on top and you went bald on the side.  Unfortunately, we had a lot of good laughs off of your crazy look.  Now, you hair is full and you need hair cuts constantly!  I need to get used to this with having a boy!
  2. You are my thumb sucker, and I adore it.  You never took a pacifier, but it's been nice that I never have to remember to bring one anywhere and you always have your soother with you wherever you go.  It's also the cutest thing I've ever seen.
  3. You, buddy, are a big boy!  I cannot tell you how often someone mentions, "Wow, he's a big boy!"  Random strangers even!  I have always loved a fat baby, and your thighs are fantastic.
  4. The first few months of your life were some of the hardest for me with any of my kids.  You struggled to sleep, you wouldn't stay asleep, and you were often cranky when you were awake.  We tried loads of things, but I finally begged the doctor for Zantac and it made a HUGE difference.  It took 5 months, but once you had your meds you were a new kid.
  5. You being a new kid only lasted a few months.  September you got your first ear infection, and little did we know that it was one of many many to come!  Between September and January you ended up with 9 ear infections and had been on more antibiotics than I have in my 31 years of life.  It was awful knowing you were in pain, but not being able to do much to help.  You finally had tubes put in this past month and it's been life-changing.  I can only imagine what it has been like to have all of that fluid out of your ears!
  6. Your dimples are to die for.  Your smile charms and you know how to work it.
  7. I'd like to apologize to you for the beating you take from Evie.  I am certain she means it out of love, but at 3 she still doesn't quite understand that dragging you around and wrestling you are still things that a baby should not be doing.  I am pretty sure there is a side of her that enjoys antagonizing someone who can't fight back, which is why I think she smacked you with the fly swatter yesterday while you were eating lunch.  Do me a favor, someday, and fight for your sister if she needs you, but don't let her bully you around :-)
  8. You are SO close to walking.  You have started to take a couple of steps here and there, so I know you aren't too far from taking off.  I'm not sure I'm ready for this stage!
  9. For some reason you DESPISE your car seat.  You are a terrible traveller.  Doesn't matter if you are equipped with snacks, toys, and entertainment.  You cry before I put you in, and you whine most of the time you are in the car.  
  10. You love to rummage through the cupboards.  You have figured out that if you pull hard enough you can override the child safety latches.  You pull out the mixing bowls, and even crawl all the way in.  The problem is that you get stuck and keep hitting your head. 
  11. You were my first baby that actually enjoyed the Ergo carrier.  I am not sure if this is because you HAD to like it, or if you really did because you are not a snuggler at all.  Early on I would put you in the Ergo and you would fall asleep while I brought the girls to Catch Air or the zoo.  It was survival, and I was thankful you made going out with 3 kids a bit easier.
  12. You love to dance.  Love it.  Whether it is watching your sisters cut a rug or yourself moving and grooving, music most definitely makes you happy.
  13. You have already mastered the art of picking the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms.  I am certain I will have a tough time hiding any veggies in your meals someday :-)  Overall, you are a pretty good eater and I haven't really found anything your DON'T like (which might be obvious from the size of your belly).
  14. You are brown-eyed and brown-haired boy in the midst of a couple of blue eyed, blonde haired girls.  I love the variety that you have brought to our crazy little team.
  15. I go back and for with who you look like.  There are days you are so your father, but then days you look just like Belle, who is the spitting image of me.  
  16. You are my early riser.  Belle and Evie always slept in until at least 7am.  You, for some insane reason, feel the need to be up between 5 and 6am.  Can we work on this?
  17. You aren't saying any words yet, but I wonder if it is because your ears were so full of fluid for so long.  
  18. You have taught me how to learn to go with the flow, and that I am not in control.  Being the 3rd kid, you didn't have the luxury of always taking your naps at certain times and for a certain length of time.  I have had to wake you up from numerous naps, and have had to stretch you to make it to certain times.  You've actually handled this well, and have helped your mama learn to let some things go.
  19. Can we talk about the dog food?  Evie and Belle were curious about this as well, but I think you take this to an entirely new level.  Maybe it's a boy thing, putting gross non-food things in your mouth.  Either way, you ALWAYS find your way to Mac's bowl and flip over his water and hoard his food in your cheek like a squirrel.  It's gross, dude.  Stop.
  20. Being your mom has helped build confidence in myself and following my gut.  I would get nervous to constantly bring you in for appointments when I knew you just weren't quite yourself, but eventually I gained confidence that I know what's best for you and that it didn't matter if the nurses and doctors thought I was overreacting.  I learned to worry more about making sure you were healthy, rather than if I brought you in and nothing was wrong.  Yup, even at my age you worry what people think of you.  Thank you for helping me work on this.
  21. I am so thankful that you are a Mama's Boy.  You love your dad and get ecstatic to see him when he comes home from work (actually you start smiling as soon as you hear the door open), but right now I am the one you prefer.  I know that it won't be long until Dad will be your best friend and you will be off playing soccer and building Legos, but for now, let me cherish that I have a little leg up :-)
  22. I adore watching you with Belle.  She has turned into quite the caregiver and helped since you have arrived.  She has become a vital asset to me, and she loves giving you bottles in the car, playing peak-a-boo with you, and helping teach you to walk.  
  23. You have a birth mark on the side of your face that reminds me everyday how unique and special you are.  It's your trademark.  I have had MANY people ask me about it and wonder if I was getting it removed, but it's part of you and was the first thing the nurses pointed out when they laid you on my chest a year ago.  
  24. You love new environments.  In fact, you are often a happier baby when you are somewhere new.  At this point you have zero separation anxiety and you easily go to other people.  I love that the women who watch you in MOPS know your personality and know when you aren't yourself either.  Many people love you, sweet boy.
  25. You are an explorer.  You crawl around nonstop and I can often find you with your head in the dryer, pulling out toy bins, or trying to find things under the table.  I apologize for the sheer amount of Legos and Perler beads you have probably ingested during your explorations.
  26. You love to put your fingers in people's mouths.  It drives me nuts.  I can very rarely just hold you without you trying to grab my teeth or shoving a fist in my mouth.  
  27. Holy cow, kid.  I have never known a child who made such an event of having a bowel movement.  Maybe it's just part of being a boy, but you make sure everyone knows you are working on some business.  Grunts, red face, and even bending over.  
  28. Evie constantly refers to you as "my Sammy John."  She is a crazy big sister, but she adores you and loves to try to make you laugh.
  29. Can we figure out what the deal is with diaper changes?  From day one you have hated them, and continue to hate them.  Maybe this will push you to potty train faster??? Wishful thinking, I am sure.
  30. You have brought a joy to this family that we didn't know was missing until you arrived. I get this urge to squeeze you every time I pick you up because I just cannot get enough of those dimples, round belly, and sweet smile.  Thank you for what you have taught me about myself as a mom, and for adding a little more testosterone to this household of Barbies and tutus.  I cannot way to watch you grow, to watch you learn, and to see what kind of personality you are going to have.  

Happy Birthday, sweet boy!  We love you!

Friday, January 16, 2015

So, There Is This...

Okay, people, we need to chat.

I have been very nervous about the post.  A ton of fear, and not so sure, but figured I needed to get it out of the way.  I am scared what people are going to think of me, and I am SO afraid of failing altogether, so here goes...

I am officially a LuLaRoe Fashion Consultant.

Whew.  That wasn't so bad, was it?

So, let me talk about this.  I really shouldn't care, but I have been so worried about what people are going to think about this.  Ha, "there goes Betsy on her next adventure!"  And, yup, I am onto my next adventure and really excited about it.  I promise I am not a flaky direct sales hopper.  To be quite honest Younique was my first "go" at direct sales, and I didn't mind it!  It was fun, and empowering to make a bit of extra money.  It made this SAHM feel even more important.  However, I noticed that after my friend, Emily (Or Lakeside LuLaRoe), got my hooked on LuLaRoe clothing I was posting WAY more pictures of my new leggings than I was mascara.

Don't get me wrong, Younique has GREAT make up.  I love it, and still plan to continue to use it.  I feel like it has helped me find an intrigue in direct sales, but it wasn't quite the right product for me.  For those of you who have purchased through me, and still want to order, I plan on still staying active.   I will no longer be doing Facebook parties or bulk orders, but feel free to order through me if you just want some mascara without any ties of a party or picking up.

So, onto this LuLaRoe.  I am sure most of you have seen my 102 million pictures on Facebook of my new leggings, or skirt or dress, or tunic....I. Love. This. Stuff.  It is comfy, it's cozy, and it's priced where this Dutch girl likes it.  Emily was a roommate of mine in college, and ironically we live pretty much across the street from each other.  This made it all too convenient for me to pop on over to her house to do a little shopping for more LuLaRoe.  I can't get enough!

A month ago I hosted my own LuLaRoe Pop-Up Boutique, and I had the time of my life!  Helping my friends pick out clothes, talking about what we liked, and ultimately sharing what I myself had fallen in love with was exhilarating.  I found myself wondering why I was still selling make-up, and had more than a few friends tell me I was selling the wrong product :-)

Me, with all my LuLaLoot I got from hosting a party!
That is how we made it to this point.  Eventually, I starting talking more with Emily about her business (she had put the bug in my ear multiple times, but I was stubborn), and after a lot of conversations with Paul about how LuLaRoe can fit into our family I signed on the dotted line.  It is scary and exciting all at the same time for me.

So, let me tell you about this amazing company I work for!

We have Pop-Up Boutiques!  Basically, I show up with all goods and racks (not as inappropriate as it sounds), and you invite your friends!  There are no catalogs, no ordering, no presentations, and no waiting for product.  You friends shop and go home the same day with new clothes!  The fabrics are always changing, so what is in my inventory one day might not be there the next day.  The great thing is that the hostess gets to earn free clothing for hanging out and shopping with her friends!

I am new at this, and Paul and I still have a bit of a learning curve to figure out with everything, but it's going to be epic.  I cannot wait to get started!   I know LOADS of you already came to the Pop-Up Boutique I had through Emily.  A launch party will be scheduled soon, and I'd love to invite you to come back and check out the fabulous new fabrics and bring a friend with you to share the LuLaLove!  Check out my Facebook page (and eventually Instagram), and I will be updating as inventory comes in (the most fun part of all of this) and the open houses I have each month.  I'm figuring out my availability for parties, but if you want in on the action first let me know!

And with that, let's party.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Samuel John: 11 Months

Sooooo, I am 2 weeks late on this post, and in 2 weeks I will be posting about you being a year old!  Figured I needed to quick sneak this in.  Here is what happened in your 11 month.

You still struggle with ear infections.  We FINALLY got you into the ENT and basically sat around until the 1st of the year until we could schedule tubes.  I feel awful of you.  You have pretty much been on antibiotics since September, and I can tell that even when they infections are gone the fluid drives you nuts.  Soon, little buddy....

Nothing new to report really.  You celebrated your first Thanksgiving.  We went to Mema and Bepa's house.  You really are a terrible traveller.  You HATE getting into your carseat, and still cry every time I put you in it, but a 2 hour drive did you in.  Hoping that it's all ear related.

You crawl every where and get into everything.  The cupboards are your favorite.  You pull everything out, and I am okay with it since it keeps you occupied.

Everything goes in your mouth right now.  You are OBSESSED with Mac's food, and have eaten more than your share of play-doh.

I think that's about it!  More in 2 weeks :-)